Congress leaders in a Twitter spat on Delhi results

The Asian Age.

India, All India

It all began with the Mumbai Congress leader praising Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet.

Ajay Maken

New Delhi: A bitter spat broke out on Twitter between Congress leaders Milind Deora and Ajay Maken over the Delhi election results, in which the grand old party was routed. Officially, the Congress came out in support of its Delhi unit with chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala asking leaders outside Delhi to introspect on their own “performances and responsibilities”.

It all began with the Mumbai Congress leader praising Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet. “Sharing a lesser known & welcome fact — the @ArvindKejriwal-led Delhi Government doubled its revenues to Rs 60,000 crore & maintained a revenue surplus over the last 5 years. Food for thought: Delhi is now one of India’s most fiscally prudent governments,” he said.

To this, Mr Maken, a former Delhi Congress chief, was quick to reply, doling out some figures: “Brother, you want to leave @INCIndia — Please do — Then propagate half baked facts! However, let me share even lesser known facts-1997-98-BE (Revenue) 4,073 crore 2013-14-BE (Revenue) 37,459 crore. During Congress Government (it) Grew at 14.87 per cent CAGR”.

Delhi leader Radhika Khera, who fought the Assembly polls this time, also jumped in, saying: “As a young first-time contestant, I find this extremely disappointing from our senior leaders, who instead of encouraging our own party to do better, are busy patting AAP’s back! Food for thought: Delhi has run a surplus since 1994, this peaked in 2011 under Sheilaji”.

Mr Deora then tweeted, hinting at the well-known rivalry between Mr Maken and late Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit. “Brother, I would never undermine Sheila Dikshit’s stellar performance as Delhi CM. That’s your specialty. But it’s never too late to change! Instead of advocating an alliance with AAP, if only you had highlighted Sheilaji’s achievements, @INCIndia would’ve been in power today”.

Speaking on the party’s behalf, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala threw his weight behind the Delhi unit, saying: “In Delhi, the battle was between Mr Kejriwal’s ‘Dangalwali (feuding) Delhi’ and BJP’s ‘Dange wali (riots) Delhi’. Only Sheila Dikshit had managed to change the face of Delhi.”

“Since Delhi is the capital, economic activity is at its highest here and thus the revenue collection would be high,” he said, taking on Mr Deora’s comments.

Mr Surjewala said the Congress has “unequivocally” asked its Delhi leaders to “introspect” and would now ask Congress leaders from outside Delhi to look at their own performance and leadership and how better they can contribute to their respective constituencies.

The Congress was routed in the Delhi Assembly polls earlier this month. Only three out of 70 contestants had managed to save their deposits.

The party was in the throes of a bitter war of words since then. Earlier, Delhi party leader Sharmishtha Mukherjee hit out at former finance minister P. Chidambaram for praising the AAP. The Delhi unit alleges it had been left to fend for itself, with virtually no support from the top leadership.